Review – Freedom Poopie (Apoch Plays)

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Review – Freedom Poopie (Apoch Plays)
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Freedom Poopie
Action, Platformer
Developer: Electroplasmatic Games
Publisher Electroplasmatic Games
October 16th, 2015

When it comes to the Steam Greenlight program, there’s a lot of crap that somehow manages to make it onto the digital store shelves. However, none quite as literal in that concept than Freedom Poopie. It was developed by Electroplastic Games, which was greenlit on that very program. Intentionally or otherwise, this cheeky one-joke game approaches the gripes of quality control in released games on Steam by allowing the player to actually navigate the pipelines as a cute mound of poop. But does it at all hold up beyond that one joke, or does this game only exist to beat that punch line into the ground, followed by your controller and keyboard?

Right off the bat, the controls for Freedom Poopie are floaty, which is easily the worst decision for this game overall. While they work great in titles like the original Sonic the Hedgehog series or even the recent Super Meatboy, it feels incredibly unnecessary here, as if as forced cosmetic aspect of the coding solely to rile the gamer up as more of a distraction than a nod to some of the classics that often found this more a necessary evil due to limitations than a voluntary development choice. The stage designs themselves do quickly become infuriating enough with the obstacles you need to avoid, but tacking on the sliding/floating mechanics of the control scheme as well makes it incredibly obnoxious to play. Sadly, that’s not all that attributes to irritation.

Aside violating the concepts of the adhesiveness of feces in the first place, having little control over your character with such precise landing points is as irritating as the constant fart sounds that appear at every turn. Nearly everything you do in this game is met with the sound of flatulence. Yes, it plays up the gimmick, but the sounds are simply abused to the point that even a grade school child, or someone with the sense of humor as one, will get burnt out on them by the second or third stage. Throw in floaty controls and frustrating level design, and everything about this game is purposely set up to be as obnoxious as possible to test your patience, but does so in a way that quickly has you turning off the title and walking away in thirty minutes or less.

But that’s still not all! There’s also the random damage distribution to contend with. While enemies like the worms dole out the kills properly, the fire seems to randomly give leniency for some reason, possibly due to coding that could use a bit of tightening. So many times I stood directly in the path of the flame and took no damage, while doing this another time around killed my poopie instantly. In one level you need to acquire the plunger key in front of one of these burners, but towards the bottom of the screen with three others above it. The random damage wouldn’t be a problem if you didn’t need to use levitating platforms that moved left and right in what seems like an indiscernible pattern in order to obtain that item to progress to the next stage. It’s just as unpredictable as falling down from a ledge to safety, only to find a worm in the pit right below you where you couldn’t look until it was too late to turn back or save yourself.

Visually, however, Freedom Poopie does look really good. Like many of this purposely designed rage inducing platformer style on Steam lately, it uses the Unreal Engine 4, which really makes each stage look as vibrant as they are designed to be disgusting given the sewar themes. There’s also your choice between a steady thirty or sixty frames per second, with sixty moving along slowly and bringing out the most detail from the new engine. You can also choose from four different graphic quality settings, the maximum still not requiring a lot out of your system to run flawlessly.

Even the soundtrack to this game is surprisingly well done and infectious, though ultimately ruined by the constant stock farting sound effects that hit from dying to selecting an option or level to play. The electronic performances don’t quite match the atmosphere of the game, but it does work with the high resolution and polished graphics from the aforementioned engine. This leaves the style of music and upbeat approach of the songs feeling right at home in the dank sewers.

There are some extra things to the game to screw around with, though they are under utilized by far. One of the biggest perks is that you get a few varieties of poop models other than the standard one. This list includes a viking, Frankenstein’s monster version, as well as a female one. The problem is that these skins are already unlocked the moment you start the game and agree to the terms of service. This only leaves the additional collectable in each stage, which looks like a small battery or something along those lines [I honestly have no idea what it is], though there doesn’t seem to be any real reason to go out of your way and collect them. It would have made sense to pick these up to unlock said skin models, but, whatever, at least the viking deuce looks cool.

When it comes to playing with your own crap, Freedom Poopie does take an imaginative platformer approach that works in theory, but fails in execution. Between the floaty controls and constant farting sound effects right in your ears, it’s like trying to get a three year old with ADHD to sit down after they had one of those giant pixy styx tubes your own parents gave him/her in order to be “the bestest grandparents ever” because they don’t have to deal with the hyperactive little shit once it leaves their place. And they know that. What starts out as a legitimately fun romp through the sewers becomes a rage fuelled migraine inducer that makes you want to shake your computer monitor like it were the neck of that little demon spawn that won’t be crashing any time soon. If you can deal with this level of obnoxiousness, then you might find a little more joy in Freedom Poopie then most. Hopefully the developer will cut out some of the fart effects, tighten the controls, not to mention make the controller support work with the directional pad, as that would be a good start toward redeeming this title. There’s actually a good game under all these faults, and correcting them would go a long way in making it a far better experience overall.

Overall Score: 4.5/10

Digital review copy of this release provided by personal funds.